For the first time, traditionally bike-resistant California has made a remarkable jump into the top tier of bicycle friendly states, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
Interestingly, the Great Leap Forward wasn’t a result of the progress at the local level, where countless cities, from San Francisco passionately auto-centric San Diego, have committed to building the infrastructure necessary to improve safety and encourage new cyclists who may currently be reluctant to ride.
Rising from 38 to 54 points in 2014, California jumped 10 spots to #9 in the ranking, thanks to notable progress in legislation, funding and policy that will make it easier to build bike lanes and mandate drivers give cyclists three-feet of space when they pass.
“Better bikeways depend on two things: the right designs and enough funding to build them. California is getting better on both fronts,” said Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition. “Caltrans has been updating its design manuals — in fact it just endorsed the NACTO Urban Bikeways Design Guide — and spending on biking and walking increased by 30% over 2012 levels.”
“Our jump to one of the top ten states reflects Caltrans’ commitment toward more bike friendly communities,” said California Department of Transportation Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We plan to continue our success by working with our local partners to infuse about $360 million into biking and other active transportation projects over the next three years.”
Wait. Did the Director of notoriously auto-centric Caltrans really just say they’re committed to bike friendly communities — let alone spending the money to make it happen?
Evidently, that polar vortex reached a lot further south than any realized.
Hell has officially frozen over.
Big news on the local front, as well, as the complaint holding up the MyFigueroa project is officially withdrawn, which should allow the project to finally move forward.
The compromise promises to remake one of the city’s most vital boulevards — small b — into LA’s first complete street, including improved walkways, a dedicated bus lane and, yes, curb protected bike lanes.
As Eric Bruins, Planning and Policy Director for the LACBC suggests, this is a win for everyone. Including the businesses along the corridor who fought it, which will benefit from a re-envisioned street built on a more human scale that will actually attract customers instead of encouraging them to speed by.
And at the same time, improve safety for everyone traveling between Downtown and USC/Exposition Park, by whatever mode.
Now if we can just get the long-promised — and already funded — bike lanes on the other end of Figueroa.
You’d think CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo would look at MyFig and fight for something similar to improve safety and the quality of life in his district, rather than pushing a complicated network of sharrows that won’t benefit anyone.
Let alone bike riders or the businesses along North Figueroa.
But who knows what he’s really thinking, since neither he nor his staff have been willing to discuss the matter with anyone.
Speaking of elected officials, the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee prepared candidate questionnaires for people running for County Supervisor and Sheriff in the upcoming June election.
Hopefully, more of the major candidates will respond before the election.
If you’re involved with any of the campaigns that haven’t responded, urge them to complete the questionnaires so bike riders can make a truly informed choice at the ballot box.
Ride with the mayor of El Monte this Saturday.
Studio City hosts a belated Car Free SFV Earth Day celebration on Sunday.
Pasadena host a Women on Bikes Night for Wednesday of bike week.
Two San Dimas bike riders are injured when the lead rider flats after hitting a rock and takes out his companion. Thankfully, it sounds like their injuries weren’t too serious.
No press bias here, as a 16-year old Norwalk bike rider is seriously injured in a left cross collision, yet the paper somehow blames him for riding into the car.
Bike theft is rising an average of nearly 11% a year in California.
The opening of San Diego’s new bike share program is pushed back until June.
San Francisco’s contraflow bike lane opens today.
A writer takes admitted doper and Lance domestique George Hincapie to task in an extended criticism; somehow, Hincapie has escaped the public criticism leveled at his former boss. Then again, not everyone agrees.
Bike lawyer Bob Mionske has his bike stolen, and ably captures the gut-wrenching feeling it evokes.
At least a dozen riders are injured in a mass crash in New Mexico’s Tour of Gila; two were airlifted to a nearby hospital in unknown condition.
That fatal Ontario, Canada collision that led a driver to sue the parents of the teenage cyclist she killed for the pain and suffering it caused her is now under review by an outside police agency after allegations of police favoritism.
Montreal planners won the battle over removing parking spaces for a bike path by county nearby parking spaces and showing it would result in the loss of just 300 of the 11,000 spaces. A good tactic to try in any city, including ours.
A new Brit Tesco commercial cheers on ordinary cyclists.
Learn about your favorite Cannondale Pro Cycling riders, including the irrepressible Peter Sagan.
On a personal note, the good news is, my doctor has cleared me to get back on my bike for the first time since I was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this month. The bad news is, I have to stay home and wait for the plumber today.
Maybe next week.